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tv   National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis Testifies on NPS Operations  CSPAN  June 23, 2016 8:43am-11:10am EDT

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is this 80 hour work period law which prohibits us from operating emergency rooms with 12 hour shifts. i went out to the private sector, hca and others and kaiser permanent permanent and everybody works 12-hour shifts. so we aren't competitive. we can't hire doctors and nurses we need to run an emergency room because of this law. this law was not designed for hospitals system. it was designed for government. different part of government. so are we going to treat this like a business serving customers or are we going to treat this like another part of government? there are other examples. this appeals law i was talking about is 80 years old. we've got over 400,000 appeals waiting to be dealt with. it would require over five years for each one of those appeals to be decided. we've got to change that law. rather than ignoring that, i believe in the part of the west
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point cadet prayer i grew up with called, do the harder right, rather than easier wrong, we got everybody in the room under the leadership of deputy secretary sloan gibson, veteran service organizations, members of congress, their staffs and so forth. we said, you know, we're going to lock the door. we'll slip the food under the door. you're not coming out of the room until you come up with a new law. we now have a new law, but it has got to be passed by congress. so if it we can get these laws passed, the ones i talked about, veteran outcomes are -- we said if we get this lay passed, as we work down the backlog, eventually we will be able to deal with an appeal in one year, in one year. not five years plus. so it is just a matter of taking the problem, solving the problem, but then you got to get congress to pass the law. >> comes back to our audience, yes, sir?
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>> [inaudible]. >> general, just hold on one second. we're going to get you a microphone so the c-span audience can -- >> first i would like to say, mr. secretary, by any real measure, this vietnam veteran thinks you have turned corner. >> thank you, sir. >> i think we are definitely making solid progress. >> thank you for your help. >> it is unfortunate 3% amounts to like 630,000. they will be the most vocal. >> we're working on it. we're going to improve it. >> the question i would like do ask, can you get us status update on choice, that choice program which is designed help those further away from the va facilities? >> yes, sir. in the fall of 2014, in response to the access crisis if i can say it that way, congress passed the choice act. the idea was to have greater capability of sending people into the community for care. we were already sending people
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in the community for care but the choice act was an attempt to make even more broad. there were certain limitations put on the act. things like 30-day time limit, 40 -- originally geo distance and driving distance. i was given some authority if there was geographic barrier. what we're seeing is dramatic growth, dramatic growth, in the choice act. and in the authorizations. that we've given for care in the community. the dramatic growth issue we have we have seven different ways providing care in the community. each one came from somewhat deliver the law. each one has deliver the selection criteria. each one with different reimbursement rates. it is complex. as a result it confuses veterans and it confusing va employees.
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so last october we put together again another proposal for a change in the law that would take all of those different seven ways of care in the community and make them one, one criteria, one reimbursement rate. and make that the new choice act moving forward. we have had hearings on that. it is part of, there are pieces of it part of the veterans first act in the senate which we're thrilled with. the house is dealing with pieces of it. but to me, that is the ultimate response, how do we make this simpler. the other thing we did in this process is we looked at everything we thought was wrong with the original act because when you make an act you don't know, and as you work over time you learn how to make that better and we have now put that in the new veterans first act. so we're hopeful if the senate can pass the senate first act and house can pass parts of this
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as well we'll be doing a better job caring for veterans in the community. >> thank you, sir. okay. we're coming down to the last minute. i will ask one from, you've been too good on twitter. literally hundreds of tweets have flooded in. so i apologize to those of you, but the secretary and his team will get them and will address the issues and questions therein. shifting again to another one of the non-health care needs because i promised some of the veterans organizations that i would ask about those, financial literacy issues, there have been, reports about the struggles of some veterans with financial issues about being subject to predatory lenders and other financial scams. what are you doing to help address financial literacy among
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veterans? >> yeah. that is a very important point. i'm glad we're going to talk about more than just health care because va is one of the largest mortgage companies in the country. we insure mortgages. the g.i. bill of course is the way my father, my father-in-law both went to college. the way i went to graduate school. so these are very, very important programs. i think the ultimate answer to financial literacy is what we're trying to do with the transition. there are going to be roughly 250,000 servicemembers leaving the service now each year. it's unacceptable for them to have a gap in their service from active duty to becoming a veteran with the full benefits that a veteran should get. we're trying to take the transition process to push it upstream working with the department of defense, secretary ash carter is a great partner in this. what we do, we get the servicemembers, maybe 120, maybe
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150 days before they leave the service, and i've participated in these programs. they're called transition assistance program or tap. we go on base and the commanding general or admiral stands there with me and says, you know, we're going to help your transition. we train non-commissioned officers how to help with that transition. we then do a number about things. number one we try to get them the medical exam they need to qualify for benefits. we sign them up for health care. we sign them up for the g.i. bill and so forth. then at the end of the program we actually have a job fair and on these job fairs we've had tremendous success in terms of placing veterans right there on the spot so that there's no transition time, no gap in transition time, from the time they leave the service. and i have to say, it is one of the reasons that veteran unemployment is at a, virtually
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all-time low of about 4%. >> mr. secretary, it's 3:00. i'm sorry that we have to end. we could go on for hours. it is a fascinating analysis of what you have done at the va including in the my va program of its implications for the rest of government in a time we're approaching a transition, the need for congressional approvals and other limitations on the model that require a system to work together. many additional tweets including one tweet from a whistle-blower i will personally make sure the secretary's attention is drawn to. and i want to thank everybody in our audience here. everyone in our virtual audience on c-span, on twitter and on social media. it has been a great privilege welcoming the secretary. >> thank you, norm. great to be with you. >> thank you very much,
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everybody. [applause] >> today, cable and satellite television executives testify about their industry's customer service and billing practices. we're live with the senate governmental affairs subcommittee on investigations at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span3. today voters in the united kingdom will decide if their count very to should stay or
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leave the european union. british prime minister david cameron and labour party larry corbin want to remain. some members of the prime minister's party and u.k. party are part of the "brexit" push. watch the live simulcast today beginning 5:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2 and on american history tv on c-span3, this saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on lectures in history -- >> by the end of the 1880s you have a dramatic upsurge, a tremendous surge in veterans organizations, in the membership in these organization and in the statues that they create. >> university of georgia professor scott necessary beth discusses ongoing debate over
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confederate monuments and memorials and many were from campaigns of southern women during reconstruction era and late into the 19 century. sunday morning at 10:00, on road to the white house rewind -- >> back in 1976, mr. carter said trust me and a lot of people did. and now many of those people are out of work. >> the republican alternative is the biggest tax giveaway in history. they call it reagan-kemp-roth. i call it a free lunch that americans can not afford. >> 1980 republican and democratic conventions with former california governor ronald reagan becoming the gop nominee and president jimmy carter accepting the democratic nomination. on july 1st, the smithsonian's national air and space museum will commemorate its 40th anniversary and sunday at 6:00 p.m. eastern on american artifacts --
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>> in 1976 be we were wrapping up golden age of human exploration with the apollo missions to the moon and we were launching into the first golden age of planetary exploration with the missions of the 1970s to mars and to the outer planets. we're now in another golden age of planetary exploration, particularly on mars. >> we tour the museum with valerie neil, head of the museum's space history department and learn about the story of human space exploration from the moon to the mars. at 8:00 on the presidency, james rosebush, former deputy assistant to president reagan, and author of the book, true reagan, what made ronald reagan great and why it matters. >> i have come to see that in this relates again to president nixon, that a great leader of character is a person who has the ability to discern the
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future and lead a people to it and through it. >> for the complete american history tv weekend schedule, go to >> senate armed services committee chair john mccain offered an amendment concerning fbi access to certain electronic records when doing terror investigations. next senators leahy and wyden challenged the amendment based on concerns with due process. they are followed by senator richard burr and senator mccain who rebutted their arguments. this is 30 minutes. >> the present concern as a member of the appropriationsprop committee, an amendment that is pending here now, the mccain
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amendment, 4787. vot we had a vote earlier this week, votes on sensible gun safety measures. we note by all the polling thate the overwhelming majority of americans supported them but theyport were blocked by senator republicans. and now it appears republican leadership wants to change the o subject. scarere resorting to tactics to divert the attention of the american people from their failure to act in responsi to mass shootings. let's be clear what we need toe stay safe. we need universal back groundaf. checks for firearms purchases. we need to give the fbi the p authority to deny guns to terrorists. suspects. senateoris republicans rejected those common sense measures earlier this year. we stillns have the chance to ge law enforcement real and effective tools, strengthen ourt
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laws, make it easier to prosecute firearms traffickers and straw purchasers. i'm a gun owner but i know that if i go in to buy a gun in vermont, even though the gun store owners -- i have to go through a background check. but you could have somebody that's got retraining orders against them, warrantsarra outstanding against them, could have been convicted of heinous crimes, they could walk into a gun show with no background check and buy anything they want. we know also they can go and buy all kinds of weapons to sell at a great profit to gangs,an criminalgs gangs, that couldn't buy them otherwise. c and ofou course to those who are going to commit terrorism and
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hate crimes. so we need to fund the fbi. we need to fund the justice department so their resources to combat acts of terrorism and hate. those are the elements of thehe amendments that senators mikulski, baldwin and nelson and in in contrast republicans proposing to reduce independent oversight of i fbi investigatios and to make permanent a law that last year never even been used.t mccain amendment would eliminate the requirement for a court order when the fbi wants to obtain detailed information about americans internet activities in national security investigations. could almost hear j. edgar hoover, who loved being didn't like, say, why didn't i have that when i was the head of the fbi?
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the republican law could cover e websites americans have visitede extensive information on who americans communicate with through email, chat and text messages. and where and when americans log on to the internet or into social media accounts. over time, this information would provide highly revealing details about americans personal lives, americans who are totally innocent of any kind of criminat activity. you get all this without prior court approval.'s w that is why the amendment is opposed by major technology companies. . .roups that go across the political spectrum from freedom works to google to the aclu. senator cornyn and others have argued that we cannot prevent people on the terrorist watch list from obtaining firearms
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without due process and judicial review. yet at the same time they're proposing to remove judicial approval and dupe -- due process when the f.b.i. wants to find out what web sites americans are visiting. the f.b.i. already has the authority to obtain this information, even obtains a court order under section 215 of the u.s.a. patriot act. none of us would feel that the f.b.i. or none of us would feel the fbi or any law enforcement could walk into our home, go through the notes on the desk who we have called, who we have talked to. but we because we do it electronically, and we have the ability to just ignore the right to privacy going to it.
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the opposition to requiring someone who said criminal indictments to stop them from a gun show to buy guns, republicans should support actions to protect us. and nelson and myself. very well organized special interest lobbying group. why not lobby the american people, and measures that keep our country safe, to distinguish the senior senator from oregon,
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i yield to him. >> i thank my colleague and he and i have worked together on this and he is outlining hypocrisy behind what has been going on for the last few days. due process ought to apply as it relates to guns but due process wouldn't as it relates to the internet activity of millions of americans. my view as president is if the country wants policies that promote safety and liberty and increasingly we are getting policies that do not do much of either. and in support of the mccain amendment suggest americans need to choose between protecting security and protecting constitutional right to privacy.
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and gives an fbi field office, to scoop up administratively americans digital records, and text message and web browsing history, and certain location information without ever going to a judge and the reason this is unnecessary, something i believe very strongly worked hard for it in the freedom act, there is a specific question in the freedom act which i worked for and authored in a separate effort in 2013 that allows the fbi to demand all of these records, all the records i described in an emergency and then go get court approval after
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the fact. and unless you are opposed -- after the fact, there is no reason to support this amendment, and this does not mean having this authority would stop the san bernardino attacker or massacre and lb gt nightclub, and there is no reason to think that is the case. and the founding fathers wrote the constitution for good reason, we can protect security and liberty. we can have both, and the sponsors of the mccain amendment have said you can only have one or the other. the other argument that was made yesterday, mister president and
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colleagues, some have said we got to have this amendment, and the record makes it clear that this provision carefully circumscribed, narrowly drawn, the notion that this is some sort of typo simply doesn't hold water. the fact is the bush administration, hardly an administration that was soft on terror, they said that this was not needed, this is not something they would support, the national security statutes are to be interpreted narrowly just the way the authors in 1993 envisioned. so mister president, i know we are going to hear my friends,
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chair of the existing wished intelligence committee that this is absolutely pivotal to protect the security of the american people. the fbi suggested this would have prevented orlando. in the face of an emergency under legislation that i offered, the government in an orlando or san bernardino issue can get the records immediately and after the fact settle us. this is not a typo but what the authors suggested and the bush administration, hardly soft on terror, didn't believe what this amendment was all about was necessary. an amendment that would undermine fundamental american rights without making our country safer and undermining the role of judicial oversight
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particularly when it doesn't make the country safer and we have specific statutory provision for emergencies protect the american people, this amendment defies common sense. i hope my always will oppose it, urge colleagues to do so, and it is hard to explain to the american people how an approach like the one behind this amendment that would allow any fbi field office to issue an administrative peanut for email and chat records, web browsing history, location information, or to be able to do it without judicial oversight when you have a specific law, that says the government has the right to move quickly in an emergency.
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pretty hard to explain to the american people how you are going to have an arrangement like this that does not make us safer and certainly jeopardizes our liberty. i am for both and this amendment doesn't do much of either. i yield the floor. >> mister president. >> senator from north carolina. >> as i grew up i remember daily on the radio listening to paul harvey, his motto and now the rest of the story. that is where we are. i give senator wyden a lot of consistency, providing tools that law enforcement needs to defend the american people. and that is fine if that is your position, but let's talk about
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fact. the statute was changed in 1993 and in some part of that legislation it was not carried over about the isp internet service provider responsibility to provide this information when requested by law enforcement. so from 1993 until 2010 every technology company when requested by the fbi continues to provide this information, this is not a new expansion and it is clearly something that continued from 1993 until 2010, 6 years ago when all of a sudden a tech company looked at it and said in this subpart but doesn't state it in that so we won't
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provided for you anymore. so miss, we never asks for this, we never had this, we had it for a long time. and every company supplied it until 2010 to the federal bureau of investigation. all of a sudden when one company's general counsel said we don't see it in this subpart, therefore we are not bound to provide that for you. . to fight terrorism and prosecute criminals or we are not going to do, we can take every tool because we use the technology now for bids us from accessing information. let me say that about this. we get no content. to get content you have to go to a judge on a bench and that judge is to give you permission to actually read the content. we are talking address,
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locations, times that in the case of reconstruction or trying to prevent an attack could be crucial. the one fact i heard out of my colleague mister morgan is with his have stopped san bernardino or orlando? he is 100% correct but i hope there is no legislation in the united states senate about a single incident. this is about a framework of tools that law-enforcement can use today, tomorrow and into the future and it is not about looking back and saying it didn't exist here. let me explain what happens if this inadvertent change is made. it means the fbi goes from a one day process of getting this vital information to over a
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month. to go to the pfizer court and get the approval and seek the information over a month. if it had to do with a terrorist attack, i hope the american people are comfortable with saying as long as the fbi figure this out a month in advance we are okay. but when you look at the m.o. of facts around the world, in those cases we had no notice, in most cases maybe another thread of information might have given us the preventative time we needed. in many cases connecting the dots is also a matter of time. director comey had a session with all members of the senate and his comment about expediting this information is because he wanted to assure the american people they reviewed as much as they could to certify there was not another cell, the american people that sleep safe at night. this is part of that process,
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being able to access the information you need in a timely fashion. he forgot to say this is the obama administration's language. talk about the bush or clinton or whatever, this is the obama administration, the one that has the responsibility today of keeping the american people safe. the administration became to the senate, provided the language and asked for this clarification to be made because it was inadvertently left out in 1993. we are here today to fix something that is broken, not to expand in any way, shape or form the powers or intrude in privacy, there is no content collected. this is simply to provide law enforcement with tools that enable them to fulfill their mission to keep america safe.
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in addition to the fix, let me say there is a lone wolf provision that extends the loan will permanently and the lone wolf provides the government's ability to target non-united states persons, foreigners only who engage or attempt to engage in international terrorism but not show specific links to a foreign power or terrorist organization to be under the lone wolf provision. too important to let it expire. this provision is not about addressing or responding to a single specific threat particularly one that is manifested any more than the underlying bill is. i understand i urge colleagues to support this legislation. law-enforcement needed, the obama administration, it is what we operated under from an
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understanding from 1993 until 2010 when a general counsel in one company decided to buck the system and say spell it out for me or we are not going to do it. so law-enforcement has the tool, i yield the floor. >> senator from arizona. >> how much time remains? >> 10 minutes remain. >> i won't take the entire 10 minutes. i noticed i would be glad to yield for three minutes in the ten minutes remaining so that he can speak in his usual articulate -- >> i thank my colleague for the courtesy. >> i yield three minutes, ten minutes the senator from oregon. >> from oregon. >> mister president. i want to come back to the
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argument i made earlier the senator from north carolina said the fbi would have to wait around if there was something that really had the well-being of the american people at stake, that is simply inaccurate. in the usa freedom ask i was able to add a provision i feel very strongly about that says if the fbi thinks the security and well-being of the american people are on the line, the fbi can move immediately to collect all the information we have been talking about. there is no waiting, no dawdling under the amendment we put in the freedom act. the government can get that information immediately and come back and settle up later with
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the judge and frankly that was something that i felt extremely strongly about because i wanted understood this is not a debate about privacy versus security. this is about ensuring we have both, that we have both. that is why that emergency provision is so important for my colleague. he mentioned the fbi waiting around, and in the freedom act, and supported this. and american people have security and liberty. that was extended for four years in the usa freedom act. i supported that as well. what we are talking about today
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is not making the country safer but threatening our liberty and i did draw a contrast between this and the issue with respect to guns. our colleagues said we should have due process as it relates to guns. i support the idea of due process but it shouldn't be a double standard, we have due process there but not as it relates to national security letters. >> if i could have 10 additional seconds i appreciate my colleagues courtesy. the amendment gives the fbi field office authority to get all this digital material without judicial oversight that is a mistake. i yield the floor. >> mister president. >> senator from arizona. >> i urge colleagues to slip amendment. i think the chairman of the intelligence committee who knows
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as much about this issue is any member of congress or anyone else and i appreciate the great job he is doing in his important remarks. this is pretty simple. the amendment has the support of the national fraternal order of police, federal law enforcement agency association, the largest professional law-enforcement association, federal bureau of investigation agents association and every law enforcement agency literally in america supports this amendment so they can do their job and defend america. ronald reagan used to say facts are stubborn things. the fact is according to the director of the cia, the director of national intelligence, right now bag daddy is saying get on this and get back to the united states and contact us and we will
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attack, there will be more attacks according to the director of the cia and director of national intelligence. right now, there are unfortunately young people in this country that are self radicalizing. what vehicle is doing the self radicalization? it is the internet. we were not asking for content here. we are asking for usage, the same way we do with financial records, same way we do with telephone records. this is an important tool. how could anyone, i say with great respect to the senator from oregon, he is a passionate and articulate advocate for what he believes in and he has my respect and friendship but i ask with all due respect after the events of the last few days when we know that attacker was self radicalized and what did he use?
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he used the internet. i don't know if this attack could have been prevented or not but i know that attacks can be prevented because that is the view of the chairman of the intelligence committee and the director of the federal bureau of investigation and the director of the cia and the director of national intelligence who are not interested in taking away our liberties but they are interested in carrying out their fundamental responsibilities which happen to be to protect this nation. all i can say to my colleagues is we need to protect the rights of all of our citizens. we can't intrude in their lives with this constant tension going on between right of privacy and national security and i think there are gray areas we need to debate and come to agreement on finally over time but this issue
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is honestly a no-brainer. when the director of the federal bureau of investigation, who is probably one of the most respected men in america, individuals in america, admired and respected by all of us saying this is one of his highest priorities, in order to protect america i think we should listen to him. the director of the cia says they are planning further attacks on the united states of america and europe, we should give them the tools they need to prevent that. when the director of national intelligence testifies before the armed services committee that there will be further attacks, shouldn't we give this rudimentary tool, according to the chairman of the intelligence committee, basically oversight, shouldn't we and still an act this really modest change, which
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although in some ways modest according to the director of the fbi is the highest priority. so let's listen to those we entrust with the nation's security, after going through the confirmation process and approval or disapproval of members of this body who have been entrusted with the solemn obligation of defending this nation, they are saying unanimously that they need this authority in order to carry out their responsibilities. mister president, we are going to vote here in a couple minutes and i would urge my colleagues to respect the views, maybe not mine, maybe not chairman of the intelligence committee but let's respect the views of those who are interested with defending this nation, and i believe we
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should give them this authority. this debate will go on i say to my friend from oregon. there will be other areas where this tension between the right of any and every citizen to privacy and the requirement of us to defend this nation because we are facing a challenge the likes of which we have never seen before and that is this whole thing of self radicalization, people sneaking into this country to commit acts of terror. it has the entire american people concerned. san bernardino, orlando, and i hope the senator from oregon and those who vote no on this amendment understand that in the view of the experts on terrorism in this world, absolutely are convinced that there will be further attacks so shouldn't we give them this fundamental tool, this basic tool which they have asked for and i believe they respect americans right of privacy as well.
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i urge my colleagues to vote on this amendment and we can move on to other ways to help our enforcement agencies and intelligence agencies to defend this nation against threats which are not going away. i believe my time has expired. >> florida senator marco rubio has changed his plan and intends to run for reelection. c-span spoke to the senator about the decision. >> senator rocco rubio, republican of florida, your announcement today what led to it? >> no matter what happens in this election, the vote is constitutional to act as a check and balance on the excesses of the presidency. i believe i'm the only one running that will provide that and i feel compelled to not walk away from that opportunity. there was another choice, my
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family would have been more comfortable, more political intelligence but i truly think it is a unique moment in history who stand up to the wrong ideas no matter who wins. >> you are good friends with lieutenant governor who is running for the seat. >> i was very supportive of him. he came to me ten days ago and asked me to run, to reconsider my decision and i promised him that i would and we spent we 10 days going over it and thinking about it and fully aware of the opportunities we were walking away from but it is the right choice. >> you were rather emotional when you went to orlando. how significant was that? >> it impacted me personally. i wouldn't say it was the reason this happened. it goes beyond the horrible tragic incident. it impacted me personally because of the human aspect but this decision was based on my
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desire to return to dc and make a difference in the senate as it is, not as i wish it were. it is a frustrating place to work sometimes but we need people who will active a check and balance no matter who wins this election. >> when you had the conversation with your wife and family what was it life? >> we were aware we had the opportunity to enter a period that was uncomfortable for us and politically perhaps take a step back but we have always been in this, gives us an opportunity to serve at a meaningful time and given all that is going on in our country and all the uncertainty around the presidential race no matter who wins it was an opportunity we didn't feel right walking away from. >> will you campaign with donald trump? >> we will be focused on our own campaign and the things we stand for and that is what we we have significant policy
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differences. i have entirely different policies from hillary clinton. we will focus on the senate and my race for the senate. >> the mechanics of the campaign, you have to start up the campaign. we have a lot of work to do. >> thank you. >> today, cable and satellite television executives testify about their industries customer service and billing practices. we are live with the senate government affairs subcommittee of investigations at 10:00 eastern on c-span2. >> us senate is about to gavel in to get the day started. more work expected on the commerce, justice and science spending bill which provides $50 billion for the justice department, nasa and other agencies was yesterday lawmakers defeated an amendment by john
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mccain that would have allowed the fbi to obtain electronic communication records for investigations regarding terrorism. now live to the floor of the senate on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal god, father of mercies, we open our hearts to you the source of all that is good and holy. renew and revitalize our
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senators for their service to you and country. surrounding them with the shield of your divine favor. lord, help them to remember that you continue to have final control of all things, ever able to transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows and to bring order out of chaos. remind our lawmakers that to whom much is given much is required. may see see their lives as a privilege to be lived to the fullest in serving with humble
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gratitude. we pray in your sacred name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. reid: mr. president, i'm glad to see the presiding officer, my colleague from nevada. mr. president, yesterday i said
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republicans should not play loose with zika funding. what is zika? for the first time in recorded history we have mosquitoes who are causing birth defects. mosquitoes have plagued this world for centuries, perhaps forever, but they've never ever caused birth defects. they've caused death and a lot of terrible sickness, but never birth defects. well, they're you moving forward. we need to do something to stop this dread spread of this virus. i said yesterday that republicans shouldn't play loose with zika funding. that's exactly what they've done. the agreement -- we had an appropriations bill here on the floor, and there were a number of things that were very important. we had money to do something
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about zika. there was money in there dealing with lots of different issues, very broad, broad bill covering a lot of things. one of our appropriations bills. the republican agreement on mil con. v.a. is a disgrace. it's a mockery of how congress should treat an emergency. the conference report which was jammed through the house with no debate, with a rule that is questionable -- they will give certain days notice on anything they do on the house floor. of course it was -- they did this within a few hours. and it happened, we don't know the exact time but about 3:00 in the morning or something like that, they jammed through this bill. it provides $1.1 billion in zika funding, which is $800 million short of the president's request. remember the president's request
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was more than four months ago, and we've learned since then how awful this spread of this virus is. we knew quite a bit four months ago, but we know now. reports, also in addition to being short in that respect -- now remember this emergency bill as it relates to zika, all emergencies -- flood, fire, earthquake, all the many things we face every year -- we take care of. they're an emergency. part of the responsibility of the american is that they pay for that and they have always been happy to do that. whether it was the situation with the devastating wind storm, water with katrina in louisiana and that part of the country, it
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doesn't matter what the emergency is, we've taken care of it in the past. but not this republican congress. no, no. they also in this so-called conference report stripped $100 million from ebola funds. remember, two years ago, everybody, ebola was the thing that frightened americans, all over america they were afraid of ebola, this terrible disease originating out of africa. well, two years have gone by. ebola has been contained but not eliminated. and there's still, according to the national institutes of health, centers for disease control, lots and lots of work that needs to be done. but the republicans keep taking money away from the fund. it's really unfortunate. but that's not half of it. they cut $500 million from the affordable care act, obamacare. now the republicans have tried 67 times to defund obamacare. 67 times, and that's failed.
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but the stripping ebola money, obamacare money; it gets worse than that. the conference report would completely undermine access to birth control for women and zika-affected areas by restricted money for planned parenthood. this is all some women have. that's the only care they have, the only place they can go. so women are disproportionately affected by zika at a time when it's more important than ever for women to plan their families, they're appalled at this partisan attack on health centers women rely on to get the care they need. instead of responding to this emergency that is threatening american women, republicans are using this awful virus as an excuse for another attack on women's health. republicans have voted repeatedly in this congress to defund planned parenthood.
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the republican zika bill is more of the same anti-woman, this is something that i'm sorry to say is part of the mcconnell-trump tactics we've found lately. but it gets worse than the one i've already outlined. republicans shr-rbd funding for veterans -- republicans slashed funding for veterans by $500 million. for veterans. it allows more pesticides into our environment. republicans even used this conference report -- listen to this one -- to block the prohibition of confederate flags on federal facilities. we should be working together to fight zika. we should be providing public health experts the tools they need to fight this virus. mr. president, as we speak, we really don't know for sure, but
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it changes daily. there is almost 3,000 women who are now affected with the virus here in america. 400 of them are pregnant. we've already had a half a dozen born with birth defects. so rather than doing something to help public health experts with the tools they need, republicans turned the emergency spending requests into a wish list for anti-women, anti-veterans, anti-minorities, anti-environments and radicals in congress, turned it over to them. last night republicans took this monstrosity of a conference report, rammed it through the house in the dead of night with no debate and then immediately went on vacation, but only until july 5. is this how one should treat an emergency? of course not. is this how we should respond to a public health crisis? of course not.
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mr. president, shame on republicans for turning a public health emergency into a partisan political show. mr. president, yesterday i was privileged to join my democratic colleagues in the house of representatives for a protest on the house floor. house democrats were demanding that republicans close the terror loophole which allows suspected terrorists to illegally -- allows them to legally buy guns. we wanted to stop that. here in the senate we're also waiting for republicans to act on gun safety like they are in the house. the senior senator from maine, a republican, has proposed legislation to keep guns and explosives out of the hands of suspected terrorists and criminals. the collins amendment isn't perfect but it's a stop in the right direction and i'll vote on it. in order to vote for legislation, we first need to be able to have a sroept on it. so -- have a vote on it yesterday. the republican leader said yesterday i'm going to be working to make sure she gets a
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vote on this proposal. now, mr. president, i am, frankly, an expert on what goes on here on the floor, and i know the procedural problems my friend, the republican leader, has. i understand that. i know sometimes it gets extremely difficult. but 48 hours ago, that's what he said. we need to be shown a path forward. i don't see it but we'll wait and see. americans want us to prevent suspected terrorists from buying guns, so i look forward to the republican leader's plans for the day. mr. president, the republican leader is allowed to speak first. he just wasn't here and his staff said i should go ahead.
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i understand there are two bills at the desk due a second reading. the presiding officer: the presiding officer: the clerk will read the titles of the bill for the second time. the clerk: h.r. 5447, an act to provide an exception for certain group health plan requirements and so forth. h.r. 5456, an act to amend parts b and e of title 4 of the social security act, and so forth and for other purposes. mr. mcconnell: in order to place the bills on the calendar number under the provisions of rule 14 i would object to further proceeding en bloc. the presiding officer: objection has been heard, the bill has been placed on the calendar. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, combatting the spread of zika virus has been a priority for
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both parties, so republicans and democrats delivered -- deliberated and forged a compromise in committee. senators debated that $1.1 billion compromise out here on the floor and voted to pass it. every single democrat voted for it. every one of them. we went to a conference committee, and the house agreed to fully fund the senate-passed funding level. now with the house's action last night, we have a chance to send the $1.1 billion in zika funding to the president's desk. this agreement will allow us to focus on immediate needs, like mosquito control, while providing resources for longer-term goals like a vaccine. it also takes a broader view that u.s. experts should also have the ability to address other emerging mosquito-borne diseases as well. the amendment has called for congress to take action on zika
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by july 4. they've warned of dire consequences if congress fails to act. many of our colleagues here have raised similar concerns. so the house did its part. now the senate needs to do its part. and this agreement represents our only chance to put zika control money to work right now. and again, it contains the exact amount of zika funding passed by the senate last month with the e of every single senate democrat. keeping americans safe and healthy should be a top priority for all of us. we know pregnant women are at a particular risk. democrats should work with us to pass zika control funding again, not block funding for combatting this virus. phony excuses and made-up objections to the funding we've already passed won't help create a vaccine or eradicate the
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threat of zika. we also have an opportunity to support our veterans. this agreement substantially increases critical resources to ensure veterans receive benefits and health care that they've earned. it will enhance oversight and accountability at the v.a. it will help improve quality of life on military bases for soldiers and their families. it will also advance critical national security projects like missile defense. the senate voted overwhelmingly to support ideas like these last month, too. we should now vote to get this critical veterans funding bill down to the president for signature. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business until 10:30 a.m. with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each.
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mr. mcconnell: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mr. manchin: madam president, are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. manchin: i'd like to sraeurbt the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. manchin: madam president, you know the problems we have with the opioid addiction, prescription drug abuse drought our state but -- throughout our state but all over this country. we've come to a crisis point. this is legal prescription drugs made by outstanding
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pharmaceutical manufacturers. they're approved byou d proport. 51 people every day are dying from legal prescription drug abuse. worse yet, the trend is going in the wrong way. it's not reducing. it's increasing. 16% more people died in 2014 than died in 2013 and we've lost almost 200,000 since 1999. and if we don't epidemic wil bee a mammoth proportion control. unfortunately, a major barrier from suffering opioid addiction is insufficient access to substance abuse treatment. myself, like many people in
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public service 20, 30 years ago when this epidemic hit, we basically treated it as a crime. and it is a crime if it's -- a violent crime is committed because of drugs or a sexual crime. most likely that's not the case. an addict to support their habit usually steals from their family, extended family, their friends. once everybody is up to this problem that they have, this addiction, they start stealing anywhere they can which usually results in arrest, incarceration and found guilty of larceny and then they get a felony on their record. but knowing how difficult this is without treating it as an illness, we've had between 2009 and 2013, only 22% of americans -- only 22% suffering from opioid addiction could find treatment centers.
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now if this was any other epidemic, which is a health crisis, we have ways of treating that. you'll find a hospital. you'll find someone that's basically going to give you treatment for the illness that you have. not with opiates. in 2014, 42,000 of our fellow west virginians, madam presidend 4,000 of these were children -- sought treatment for illegal abuse but failed to find any treatment. think about this. if you were a parent and has a child that's addicted and you want that child -- that child wants to get help and you want to get that child help and there's no place to put that child, compare that to what we do as far as incarceration. my cousin is a judge, a federal magistrate judge. michael was telling me that, we were talking, he said joe, i've never been turned down for someone i had to put in jail or prison or someone tell me i'm sorry, judge, you can't put them in jail because we don't have a
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jail cell. we've always been able to find a jail cell for somebody we want to incarcerate. but then he told me, he says guess what, joe? he says probably eight out of ten times a person that is recommended treatment by the court -- recommended treatment. i've got no beds to put them in, no place to send them for treatment. i can find a jail cell for them, i can't find a treatment center. that's what we're doing in america. so we've got to change. in west virginia, our longest-term facility, west virginia, more than 100 beds and that's recovery point in huntington, west virginia. they do an unbelievable job. in 2014, about 15,000 west virginians received some form of drug or alcohol abuse treatment, but nearly 60,000 of west virginians were identified as in need of substance abuse treatment and couldn't find it. based on conversations with our law enforcement, you can check in any of your towns, wherever you may live in this great country of ours and you'll find
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probably seven to eight out of ten people that are picked up for any crime or charged with a crime is drug related. it's having a tremendous effect on our economy and the lives of people. so what i have done is i've come up with a piece of legislation which, we've got bipartisan support and we're hoping to get much more, but basically it's a lifeboat. what it really says as if we need this treatment, how do we fund it? in these tough times that we have, it's hard to find the finances and we have to have pay-fors. i looked at it in a very practical way and said we have a fee or tax if you will on cigarettes. we have a fee or tax on alcohol, and these are all things that are detrimental to society and to the human being themselves. and i looked at basically a one penny -- a one penny per milligram fee on opiates, and this is for every opiate that's produced in america or sold in america. one penny per milligram.
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that is unbelievably spinning off about $1.5 billion to $2 billion if we would enforce this. that gives us a funding stream to where these judges can put a person that needs treatment. we can have adequate treatment centers with a continual funding stream. i would hope we wouldn't get a penny, not one dollar from these fees because that means we're not out pushing opiates. but that's not the case. that is not the case. so this lifeboat -- and that's exactly what it says it is, it gives people a lifeboat. it gives them a chance to clean themselves up. mr. durbin: would the senator from west virginia yield for a question through the chair? mr. manchin: yes, i will. mr. durbin: first i want to thank him for this issue. i know it is personal for you and the presiding officer. in my state i think the death rate for heroin i think is 12 per 100,000.
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you have twice the problem we have in statistical terms. in new hampshire, for some reason, three times. and you have been outspoken on this issue. i'm glad you have because it is not just local to you. it's a national problem. the one thing that came up yesterday when we had the acting administrator for the drug enforcement agency come before the judiciary committee, and most people are not aware. i have know you and the presiding officer are aware of e classified as narcotic pain reliever pills without the approval of the drug enforcement agency. and i'm sure the senator from west virginia is aware of the fact that when they've set the annual productions, quotas for opioids by united states pharmaceutical companies, there
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has been a dramaticnd 2015, 22-r period of time, oxycodone production jumped 40 times, from 3.5 tons to over 150 tons of oxycodone approved by the drug enforcement agency. dramatically. and during the same period of the production of hydrocodone went up 12 times. hydromorphone, 23 times. and fentanyl, the drug that killed prince, 25 times. i asked mr. goldenburg, who is the acting administrator, we are trying to destroy the opioid beast, and you are feeding it. the production levels, do you take into consideration what's happening with these drugs? once they're produced by pharma
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and what happens to them next. under the ordinary course of events, they are prescribed by doctors and dentists or in some cases some other medical professionals and they make it to the street. and he said he was aware of it and he understood that his agency was bearing some responsibility for what has happened. well, that's an understatement. they're certainly bearing some responsibility. so i ask the senator from from west virginia, who's been outspoken and a real leader on this issue, when we look at the food and drug administration's role on the types of opioids and we look at the drug enforcement agency's role when it comes to the volume of production, is it clear that our government has some responsibility for where we are today with this opioid epidemic? mr. manchin: absolutely, senator. i've been working, trying to change the culture of the f.d.a., and i have been working with the d.e.a. because not only
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the d.e.a. basically sets the allotment, they also are the ones that give a license to the doctors and makes sure that that doctor is certified that they can dispense it. if you have a doctor that's abusing it, if you have a doctor that basically is putting 10 or 20 times more on the market in a certain section or region of our state or country more than the other doctors, maybe that person is irresponsible. maybe they should be questioned and taken off the list of prescribing. so absolutely. it's a cultural change. this thing all came about in the 1980's when basically pain, your element of pain was one of the fifth cry tear kwras of wellnesf wellness. it was the veterans administration, the veterans administration that brought the product on. the genie got out of the bottle. how can we put it back? we can if we continue to fight it. it's just ab -- a horrible scourge on us. mr. durbin: you and i would both concede there are people
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with chronic acute pain that need relief every single day. and we're not quarreling with that, that it should be prescribed, and there is a definite tphaoepd -- need and pain is an issue in the lives of many people and we need to deal with it responsibly, medically responsible ways. i guess the question that comes to mind is when i ask my local doctors in illinois about this, some have shown extraordinary leadership. the chicago medical society, for example, i commend them. i've written to all the medical associations saying what are you doing in training your doctors to know when you're prescribing too much or too many pills? and the chicago medical association, i want to give special credit to. they've stepped up and said we are, with our members we're educating them. but here's the thing that i hear repeatedly and i'd like your response to it. three percent of the doctors are responsible for 50% of the prescriptions. that's probably true. i can't quarrel with it or would
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i. but then someone said, but that's not the whole story. many times a person going to one of the 97% of physicians ends up starting down the path toward opioid addiction. and then that first physician says no more. then they turn to 3% who are doling out the prescriptions right and left. it seems to me the 3% are the worst offenders and the ones really feeding the system and volume, we still can't look beyond the 97% and their responsibility to make sure that their prescriptions do not start a person down the path toward opioid addiction. i would ask the senator from west virginia have you encountered this 3% that are the responsibility of physicians? mr. manchin: yes. when this became the problem that we know it is today, -- my brother's a doctor.
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he went through med school in the 1970's. they weren't schooled on this. they weren't trained on this. most doctors will tell you they got very little training on what is substance abuse and what it could do. what they find out about is the salesman from the pharmaceutical selling it to their office and giving them free samples and say it's a miracle drug, try it, i think people will like it. yes, you have people running pill mills. it's basically a business plan for them. the other thing is the doctors that don't have that knowledge and they haven't been trained in it, which has finally gotten the c.d.c., centers for disease control, to put basically prescription guidelines. you don't need -- just because a schedule two narcotic, which is basically oxycodone, vicodin, lora tab, some of the most renowned ones that we know of, they have a 30 day. so a doctor can prescribe you 30 days. i have young people in my office who go get a tooth extraction. they get a 30-day prescription. they might need a two-day
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prescription or three-day. so this is what we're cracking down on. the 97% that should not be just giving you 30 days because that's what they're allowed it. should be using good exphens. you're a -- commence. you're a young, strong person. if it's worse, come back and see me or call. mr. durbin: in the year 2014, the drug enforcement agency of the united states approved the production of 14 billion opioid tablets in the united states. 2014, 14 billion. enough opioid pills for every adult in america to have a one-month prescription. so i ask the doctor in dupage county in illinois, i said to him why, why would doctors prescribe, as you said, senator, 30-day prescription for a patient who may only need two or three days, and it could be
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renewed if they need more, and he said some of them are not trained well enough and some of them don't want to get a phone call on a weekend. now, that was a pretty grim analysis by another doctor, but it really calls into question first pharma producing 14 billion, 14 billion opioid pills for america, and doctors handing to patients a 30-day prescription when in good conscience a few days would have been more than enough. the question is how do we at the federal level -- and i ask you because you are a moderate to conservative democrat and i know you're not looking for the big hand of government to solve all our problems. how do we deal with pharma overproduction, how do we deal with doctors' overprescription? mr. manchin: basically, i truly believe it's been a business plan. that's being very cynical, if you will. we have a lawsuit going on in the southern part of west virginia right now, boone
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county. judge thompson has been more active than anybody i have ever seen. and he has a case before him now, and basically i think it's four or five distributors. so you have the pharmaceutical manufacturers that go to the distributors, the distributors basically spread it out to basically the pharmacies. they sent -- in this very small period of time, over 200 million pills into a little part of our state. now, you're telling me that they didn't think they were oversupplying? somebody raised a flag there, a moral conscience that say there is no way they can consume this much. there is no way that any people in a small rural area can consume this much narcotics. something's wrong. now, you're telling me that wasn't a business plan? so i am going to testify. they asked me. i said i most happily would love to be on a stand and i want them to question me what it's done to our state. i'm happy to be accountable for that because i want someone to look me in the eye and say you
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didn't know that we only had x amount of people. we only have 18,000 people in the whole -- 1.8 million people in the whole state. you're sending these pills to every man, woman and child maybe. something's wrong with you. i want to hear that answer. yes, it doesn't matter whether you are democrat or republican, conservative or liberal. this doesn't have a home. this is a killer. it doesn't matter whether you're the low end of the socioeconomic ladder or the top end. it's hitting everybody. mr. durbin: i want to thank the senator for yielding for a question through the chair and just cy say to him i know the problem that you face as a presiding officer and he faces as a senator. twice, twice the intensity of the problem in my state, and i feel it personally. there is no town too small and no suburb too wealthy to avoid the opioid addiction leading to heroin in 80% of the cases, heroin overdoses and deaths.
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if you pick up an obituary column in down state illinois, my home area, the small town, rural areas much like west virginia and you go to the obituary page and you see the name or photograph of someone between the ages of 18-30, i've got to tell you in most instances, it's this, heroin overdose. it's a sad reality all across my state. i thank the senator. mr. manchin: i thank the senator and the presiding officer, my colleague from back in west virginia. we face it every day. there is people -- i'm going to read a letter here from another family. i do it once a week because it puts basically a real family with it. but we have such a situation and we have now people -- because of the hard financial time that some states are hitting. why don't you just legalize marriage, just legalize it, they're telling me, because that will make all your problems -- all the taxes you will receive. i can tell you 99% of the addicts that i talk to i ask
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how did you go down this pathway of destroying your life? it started with recreational marijuana. now i have got people coming to me and saying well, you're a public leader. you're in the political arena. don't you think we need this revenue? i know we need revenue. i don't think we need it by fostering more addicts. if an addict is telling me don't do it, then i have got other people saying we need them, i'm not going to do it. i can't in all good conscience. so this is what we're facing right now. if they think that the revenue off of narcotics, the revenue off of these destroying drugs that we have, if the doctors don't understand it -- and here's the thing, the problem. i just said you have got a top-notch pharmaceutical manufacturing company that does many good things for us and improves our lives that are producing a product. you have got basically the federal government, d.e.a. and f.d.a. approving it and legislate it get on the market, you have got the doctors who are the most trusted people next to your family that are telling you
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to take it because it will help you and be good for you. we have a full-blown epidemic. we're just fighting zika now, we have ebola, we have all these other things that we're concerned about epidemics, and we have got one that's already full-blown and matured, and we're not doing anything. so i'm hoping that common sense will prevail. we found the pay-for, the lifeboat basically. it's one penny. they are saying it's going to be passed on to the consumer. c.d.c. basically controls the pricing so they can't gouge the people. trust me, it's as profitable as anything they make in the pharmaceutical arena that one penny on a milligram is not going to grupt anybody, and it's not going to keep any product off the market that's needed. but you tell me how else we're going to get $1.5 billion to $2 billion every year to help people in america get off of this horrible epidemic. so i thank the senator for helping me. i want, madam president, to continue reading a letter from one of our constituents. you get them the same as i get them. we talk about it all the time, and i want to thank you for helping me fight this because it's something that together
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we're going to make a difference. the letter goes i reach out to you in hopes of possibly making a future i have worked really hard for a little brighter. my name is kayla. i'm a recovering addict. my sobriety date is february 13, 2013. i struggle with addiction to pain medication of all sorts. it started out as drinking and smoking when i was 13. that's basically all i ever did until i turned 17 and tried my first pill. it blew me completely out of control from there. while in active addiction, i got in trouble with law enforcement for stealing. i received a charge for grand larceny. that was when i was only 20. and that was the first and last time i have been in trouble with the law. nonviolent, nonviolent crime basically for stealing. i have changed so much since the day i took the first pill, i completed rehabilitation at crossroads recovery home in gilbert, west virginia, along with my dear friend jessica
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grubb. you and i have sponsored jessie's law, and we know about this tragedy. she sadly lost her battle to this horrible disease. it truly saved my life. when i completed treatment, i came home to start drug court in green borrow county, west virginia. i completed that without any sanctions the whole course of the year that i was in the program and i did well. i recently moved to washington state with my husband and children. i want more than anything to take my recovery life a step further by starting college. ever since i was a little girl, my dream has been to become a veterinarian. that has never changed in my almost 26 years of life. due to my felony, that dream more than likely can't come true. i would not be able to hold a license unless otherwise approved by the board of veterinary medicine, and it is not likely that they would approve me. i have worked so hard to be where i am at today. my dream is to apply to ohio state university in august of 2016 for the spring, 2017, semester in veterinarian school.
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i know i can be a vet. i want to prove to addicts everywhere that there is light at the end of the tunnel. the pain can be stopped. you can go from having to have a fix to get out of bed to having a doctor of veterinary medicine degree. i want to show everyone that this smalltown west virginia opioid addict made it and not only that she made it but she pushed the limits and reached for the stars. the rumor is true. we do recover. now, let me tell you the rest of the story. right now, unless we change the laws, unless we change our attitudes about how we treat addiction and look at it as an illness that needs to have -- to have treatment, unless we can do that and find the treatment, but here is a person that even as she got sober, she has been sober for over six years, turned her life around, wants to be a doctor of veterinary medicine, which she doesn't think she can do now because she ruined her life at a very young age and she is paying the consequences. but it was a nonviolent crime, a
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nonviolent crime. so what we have said and we are trying to forge a piece of legislation that says if you have a felony on your record from a drug addiction and it was not violent, you didn't do it with a violent crime of guns and weapons and harming people, it wasn't a sexual crime where you you -- a horrible, horrible sexual crime, none of those happened, all you did was steal, which is a crime, and you have a felony on your record, if you go through drug rehabilitation, if you become a mentor for at least another year, so that's a two-year recovery and you go before, -- then you are qualified to go before a review panel. that review panel would probably be made up of your sentencing judge, the arresting officers and the addiction treatment center personnel that could say you deserve to have one chance in life to clear your record, to expunge your record, and now to be a productive citizen, to be a doctor of veterinary medicine, to be able to be anything you
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want to. you did screw up and you made a heck of a mistake, but now we're going to give you that second chance because you have fought forward and become clean, you're sober, you're helping other people become clean and sober, and if not, we're going to throw a whole generation of absolutely productive americans out. and what i'm asking for is a consideration on both sides of the aisle, democrats and republicans, and forget about being democrats and republicans. let's be americans. let's reach out and help people who want to be productive americans and contribute back to society. these are the things we have got to do that are common sense. i'm hoping all of us will come together, and i know we will. mr. president, i thank you for allowing me to speak on this subject. i do it every week. i'm going to continue to do it until we make changes. it affects your beautiful state of georgia the same as it affects west virginia. we're fighting it. this is one thing that we all agree on. we must end this opiate
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addiction, the drug-infested addiction this country has. we are the most drug-infected nation on earth. when you think that 80%, 80% of all the opioids in the world that are produced are consumed in a country that has less than 5% of population, the united states of america, something's wrong. we're better than this. we're better than this. thank you, mr. president. i notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the minority whip. mr. durbin: i ask consent the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration 120, h.r. 2578, an act making of h.r. 2578 which the clerk appropriations for the department of commerce and will report. the clerk: calendar number justice, science and related a*eufpblgs for the fiscal year -- agencies for the fiscal year ending 2016 and other related purposes. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the minority whip. mr. durbin: i ask consent to speak in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, 15 years ago i introduced a bill called the dream act. the dream act was designed to give children brought to the united states by their parents who were undocumented a chance, a path toward legalization, a path towards citizenship. these were people now in their teens and early 20's who were brought to the united states as
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infants and children. it was not their conscious decision to come to this country. it was a decision by their parents. they've grown up in the united states. it is estimated 2.5 million young people came to this country under these circumstances. so many of them have done everything they have been asked to do. completed their education, stood up in the classroom every morning and pledged allegiance to that flag, the only flag they've ever known, become part of america, excelled academically, started dreaming about what they might do as americans to make their lives better and this country better. but the law in this country is very harsh when it comes to these young people. the law says in its bleakest terms they have to leave the united states for ten years and petition to come back in. here they are 18, 19 years of age being told now that you've graduated high school, whatever your status, leave. go back somewhere where you cannot ever railroad living
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and -- ever remember living, and wait ten years. so i introduced the dream act and said if these young people completed their education, if they have no serious criminal issues, if they are prepared to come forward, serve their country in the military, finish their college education, we will give them a path to citizenship. 15 years we've waited. i can remember when these galleries were filled with young people, dreamers, undocumented young people who sat one saturday morning in their caps and gowns in the gallery, praying that we would pass the dream act and give them a chance to become part of the only country they have ever known. the measure failed on the floor of the senate. it was a brokenhearted moment for me, facing these young people, many of them in tears, sobbing not knowing what their lives would lead to. and i said to them if you won't give up on me, i'm not going to give up on you. let's keep working at this. and so i sent a letter in april
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of 2010 to my friend, the president of the united states, who had been a cosponsor of the dream act. and i said to president obama, can you do something? can you do something to allow these young people a chance? give them a chance. and he did. he came through with a program called daca, and this deferred action program was really designed to give these young people a temporary stay from deportation. it's only temporary, for several years. but in order to get that stay, they had to come forward. they had to register with the government, pay a filing fee, make sure all their vital information had been disclosed, go through a thorough criminal background check, and then if they got a job, they would pay their taxes as required of every person living in this country, and they would have a temporary stay of deportation, to stay here, go to school or work.
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several years later they would have to do it all over again and go through the same background check and pay the same fees. the president signed that executive order and said it was within his authority as the chief executive to decide what are the highest priorities that should be deported from the united states? the president rightly said let's go after felons and dangerous criminals. they shouldn't be part of our country. why should we only go after young people who only want to complete their education and be a positive part of our future. so the president signed the executive order for daca. some time later came an opportunity to consider families in similar circumstances. most people have the mistaken notion that if you're undocumented, everybody in your home is undocumented. i haven't found that to be the case. more often than not, only one parent will be undocumented. the father may be an american citizen. all the kids may be american
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citizens, but mom may be undocumented. so the president put in another proposal and said in those circumstances where you have someone undocumented in the country with a child who is an american citizen, you can apply for what's known as dapa, which gave them the same temporary stay of deportation. you had to pay your filing fee, go through a criminal background check again, pay taxes on any money that you earned and for a temporary period of time you would not be deported. when the president signed that second executive order, a number of governors, all republicans, from across the states filed an action to stop the implement ation of the president's executive order. now, that's a big deal. it literally affects millions of people in this country who are undocumented. and these governors argued that if they were forced, for example, in the state of texas to give driver's licenses to undocumented people, they would
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have administrative expenses so that the president's order would create a hardship on their state. what they failed to acknowledge, of course, was that these new people under the executive order would be paying taxes, legally paying their taxes to the federal and state government, and they would pay any fee necessary to get a driver's license imposed by the state of texas. the case went before the supreme court, and the decision was handed down just a few minutes ago. the decision of the supreme court, sadly, shows the traicial human cost of the senate republican strategy to recklessly refuse to fill the vacancy on the supreme court created by the death of justice scalia. you know what happened several months ago when justice scalia was on a hunting trip and sadly passed away to the shock of everyone, and there was a vacancy on the supreme court.
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the president of the united states did what he was supposed to do. you see, in article 2 of the constitution, there is a requirement that the president fill the vacancies on the supreme court. why would the founding fathers put a requirement on the president? they understood that some president could play games with vacancies on the court. said no, you have to send your nominee's name to the united states senate where we will have the opportunity to advise and consent as to that nominee. the president met his responsibility. judge merrick garland works for the d.c. circuit court of appeals. in fact, he's the chief justice of the d.c. circuit. the president sent his name to fill the scalia vacancy. is merrick garland qualified? the american bar association just this week said what we already knew. merrick garland is unanimously well qualified for the position. so the president's nominee at that point would come before the
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senate. in the history of the united states, we have never, ever denied a nominee to the supreme court vacancy a hearing and a vote in the united states senate, never until this very moment when the republican leadership in the united states senate said no, we are not going to fill the vacancy because we are hoping that our presidential candidate -- in this case, mr. donald trump -- will be able to fill that vacancy. so we'll keep the vacancy open for our dream candidate, president donald trump. it's the first time in the history of the united states the senate has turned its back on a presidential request to fill a vacancy on the supreme court. and we warned the republicans this could create some problems. today we see exactly the kind of problem that can be created. the human cost of the senate republicans' reckless refusal to
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fill this vacancy on the supreme court is going to be felt by literally millions of people. today the supreme court failed to resolve the legal challenge to dapa and expanded daca, the executive orders of the president. the result of that tie vote, 4-4 tie vote, the result of that tie vote leaves millions of families across america in legal limbo. i urge the justice department to consider all the legal options to swiftly overturn the injunction that is blocking president obama from using his legal authority to set negligence enforcement priorities. dapa and an expanded daca will make our country safer and allow law-abiding individuals with deep roots in our communities to step out of the shadows and contribute more fully to the country they love. tie vote on the united states supreme court. i can't remember the last time that happened. it happens very rarely.
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it didn't have to happen. if the senate republican majority had done its job, had faced its constitutional responsibility, a memr of this u.s. supreme court. we could have avoided what we now face, a split court 4-4, which cannot resolve critical and controversial issues. the net result of the republican refusal to fill that vacancy is to create an injustice across america for millions living in this country, an uncertainty about their future. that is the height of the street and was announced just minutes ago. this is what happens when the senate republicans refuse to do their job, when they say we're going to play politics with filling a vacancy on the supreme court. we're going to hope and pray that donald trump will come forward and fill this vacancy
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with somebody we like a little better than the nominee of president obama. it is a sad day, and now we know what this constitutional irresponsibility by the senate republicans has done. it has created a fraud court. it has split our nation in terms of the law. it has really derogated one of the most important institutions in our government. i hope, i just hope that a few republicans will step up and realize that waiting for president trump to fill this vacancy is the wrong answer. we need to accept the constitution's mandate to move quickly to fill this vacancy as quickly as possible, and in the meantime, with this split court decision, we need to call on our justice department to do everything possible to try to find a path toward a just resolution which the supreme court was unable to find today. mr. president, i yield the floor.
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thes my office, be granted the privileges of the floor just for today. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. king: thank you. mr. president, i first want to
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begin by reading a note i got this morning at 7:00 from a member of my staff in maine. and i think it speaks to the issues that we are discussing today in this body and frankly i believe should be discussing in the other body. my regional representative said last night i attended the southern maine meeting in sanford. that's a town in southern maine. from the time i walked in the door through dinner and even walking back to my car, every single person i spoke with either wanted me to convey their thanks to senator king for his stand on -- quote -- doing something on gun control to asking me that he stand firm and do more. people who own guns and said so and those who don't. every single person expressed dismay that congress has not acted on this. many mentioned the sit-in in the house of representatives and
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were shocked that the issue would not even be given a vote. many wanted to know when the vote would be taken in the senate. people in maine, including responsible gun owners, want more background checks and limitations on those who raise red flags. they want commonsense legislation. i had to send this to you this morning because i was quite surprised at the total focus on this issue, unquote. mr. president, we will have before us, i hope, sometime today an amendment which i consider a national security issue. since being in this body, i have been privileged to serve on both the armed services and intelligence committees and have studied and worked on and listened to hearing after
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hearing on the terrorism threat to this country. and something important has happened with regard to that threat over the last three or four years. we have moved into a new era of threats to our country different than the terrorism threat that we found ourselves facing after 2011. in 2011, that plot was hatched overseas. it involved foreigners who got to our shores one way or another, and performed a heinous attack on our country. now we are facing attacks from within, people who are already here are radicalized online and receive what i call a terrorist a.p.b. from isis or al qaeda that basically says go out and do harm to americans. the difference is the threat is now here and not abroad, although it may be inspired and
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in some cases directed from abroad. i call this terrorism 2.0, and it raises an entirely new national security issue for us, and that is how do these terrorists obtain arms? isis in syria or iraq, if we are aware of an arms shipment or a cache of arms somewhere in their territory, we take it out. we send our fighter planes. we send any resources that we io to a gun store and buy them. it makes no sense to me that we spend millions of dollars to keep arms away from terrorists in the middle east and do nothing to keep arms away from terrorists here in the united states.
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that's why i am supporting, along with a bipartisan group, a nonpartisan group of other of maine aommonsense piece of legislation that will simply add to the list of those items which prohibit people from getting guns if you are on the no-fly list or the selectee list of those people who are required to have additional screening at an airport. this is about as simple and common sense as it gets. to vote against this is basically saying it's okay with us that terrorists, people on the no-fly list get a gun. i just can't understand any argument that would justify that. and the provision that senator collins has painstakingly developed with consultation with both sides of the aisle has in it due process protections for someone who may be on one of these lists, either inadvertently through a mistake
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or improperly. they have the opportunity to say i shouldn't be on the list, i should be able to buy a gun, and they have an opportunity to make that case in a very limited period of time and to have their chance to obtain full due process to protect their constitutional right. so this is a well-balanced, thoughtful proposal. it is not taking anybody's guns. it is not a ban on any kind of weapon. it simply says no guns for terrorists. and it seems to me that is a basic commonsense amendment, and i really frankly can't understand why it's become so difficult to move it forward. we had a filibuster here last week. as a result of that filibuster, we ended up having several votes on this issue earlier this week, and i hope and believe that we're going to have at least one more either today or early next
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week on the collins amendment. in the house of representatives, however, there's no vote whatsoever. to the point where members of the house have had to take to the floor and literally take over the floor and say we're not leaving until we get a vote. i guess i would call it the house version of a filibuster. i think it's important to emphasize that those people in the house are not saying we're going to stay here till we pass legislation. they're saying let's have a vote. that's our job here. if you ask any sixth grader what do senators and representatives do? they vote. they vote on things. that's what we're supposed to be doing. that's why we're here. and for the house, the majority in the house to adjourn for a vacation, for a break, for the next ten days without even allowing a vote or any debate on this issue i just find
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inexplicable. i mean, it just looks ridiculous to the people of this country. my suspicion is that many of those people are going to get home over the next few days and their citizens, their constituents are going to say what gives? this thing about terrorists seems to make sense to me. and why didn't you get something done on this? i hope and believe that is what will happen, but to force the members of the house to take this extraordinary step which i understand is only -- has only happened one or two other times in our history snored to simply get a -- history in order to simply get a vote on something that is a top of the line concern to the people of the united states, again it just doesn't make sense. and it's one of the reasons -- we often wonder why is congress held in low esteem? because we're not doing our job.
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people send us here to do a job, to wrestle with difficult issues, not to suppress them, not to push them under the rug, not to ignore them, but to debate and discuss and try to come up with common sense solutions and indeed that's what we've done here in the senate. i've been working on this for the past 48 hours, consultations with other senators trying to get the language right, trying to find ways to accommodate various interests and concerns about this bill and hopefully now we're going to be able to get to the floor to have a vote. in the house they're not even allowing that to happen. i should have said in the other body they're not allowing that to happen. i think this is an issue of real importance to the american people and i sense a very significant change in terms of people's views of this issue. i understand there was a poll released just this morning that 85% to 90% of the american
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people believe that we should try to keep guns out of the hands of terrorists, no fly, no buy. it's a very simple message. and interestingly on that poll, the highest percentage of people that agreed with that proposition were republicans. 90% of republicans responded to the cnn poll that terrorists should be kept from getting guns and that's what this amendment that we're going to be considering is all about. it seems to me that this is a case where congress has an opportunity to do what it is that we're supposed to do, not to avoid, not to obfuscate, not to sweep under the rug but to act. and i can't presuppose the outcome. i believe and hope the outcome will be positive, we'll take an action on this common sense amendment that senator collins has developed but at least let's
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act. and i hope the other body would do the same thing. to have adjourned for the recess prematurely sievely because they didn't -- simply because they didn't want to confront or debate this brings discredit on this entire institution and is greatly to be regretted. i come from a state that believes in the second amendment. i believe in the second amendment. i have insisted through this process that anything that limits people's the to get guns if they're on a no fly list or selectee list, they need to have due process in order to be sure that they're properly on that list and that there's good cause for them not to able to purchase guns. i believe that that process should be there. it is there. this is in no way a violation of the second amendment. it is no no way -- it is in no way an effort to take anybody's guns away. it is an effort to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them. the supreme court has affirmed over and over, even justice
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scalia has affirmed directly and unequivocally that this is appropriate under the second amendment. so i commend my colleagues on both sides of the aisle who have developed this common sense proposal. i hope that we can pass it today by an overwhelming vote and maybe that will help in the other body to persuade them to at least consider, discuss, debate and then vote on this issue that is of vital concern to the american people. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. i defer to the senator from delaware. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. carper: i appreciate the chance to follow the gentleman from maine this morning. and i want to talk a little bit about, if i could, about the appropriations bill for the
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departments of commerce and justice and major science agency, including the national science foundation. i want to commend the senior senators from alabama. i don't see them on the floor this morning. senators from alabama and from maryland for their bipartisan work on what i think we all know is important legislation. reported out of the appropriations committee i'm told on a unanimous vote. they worked hard to juggle many competing priorities from keeping our country safe to creating jobs through trade, economic development, science and innovation. this legislation provides critical resources for and needed oversight of many issues that are important to the committee on homeland security on which i serve as the ranking member. one example, one example of many in this appropriations bill is the census bureau. the 2010 census was the
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costliest census in the history of our country by far. it faced a serious technology failure. that's why it's critical that we learn from the last decade's mistakes and make sure the 2010 consensus is on time, on budget, and most importantly accurate. i'm encouraged that the bureau has provided a plan for the 2020 count that could save over $5 billion and reduce the cost per household by almost 30% compared to the 2010 census. 30% savings. now we need to do our job, we need to do our job here in congress by providing the resources and oversight necessary to help the census achieve those goals. and if we do our job, they can and they will. the appropriation bill also funds the f.b.i. our domestic counterterrorism agency. as we know the f.b.i. is on the job not just eight hours a day, not just five days a week. they're on the job seven days a week, 24 hours around the clock
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and they do this to keep all of us safe in this country from terrorism and from violent crime. as we consider this legislation to fight terrorism at home, mr. president, i also want to take just a few minutes today to discuss the progress that we're making to defeat the terrorists, isis in this case, on the battlefields far away from our home. we're going to have a chance to look at a visual here in just a moment. yesterday on the senate floor, mr. president, i heard that several of my colleagues in the majority claim that our president, our administration has not done enough to fight isis. however, our friends in the majority i think are forgetting a few key facts and i just want to dwell on those for a little bit this morning. the truth is that we are taking the fight to isis and we are making serious progress in the battle to degrade and to destroy them. and when i say "we" i'm not just
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talking about the u.s. i'm not just talking about us and canada, not talking about just the u.s. and canada, maybe parts of europe. i'm talking about a coalition that now includes 60 nations, 60 nations from around the world, including some that are muslim nations, and i think they're an important part of this coalition. we have this map here. just for a little familiarity here, here's iraq, part of iraq over here, anbar province. here's baghdad and a town called fallujah we've heard a lot about in recent years and especially recent days. a place up here called tikrit, saddam hussein's hometown and a town here called


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